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  • Writer's pictureKristina Lang

It can't be/On nie može

These days, my daughter, who is studying for a master's degree in neuroscience, has to prepare a poster presentation. She is a little nervous because she will have to stand next to the prepared poster and present her work to the examining professors who will ask her questions. I told her that she has nothing to be afraid of, because no one except her supervisor and herself know more about the specific part of the work she is currently doing. I discussed Sara's stage fright with her dad, and he remembered an old story with a poster at a European congress.

Namely, one of our colleagues, Alex, sent a summary of his work to an international, fairly large congress, and wrote in an abstract that he solved the crystal structures of three calcium salts with acids using crystallographic methods, which was relevant in some bioinorganic research. Abstracts are sent to congresses months in advance. Namely, when he wrote the summary, Alex had truly solved the structure of one salt, but for the other two he only predicted that it would be the same. Considering that Alex is relaxed by nature and with the motto "Slowly does it", he left the resolution of those structures until a few days before the congress. It turned out that the other two crystals were not calcium salts at all, but pure acid, which was not important for the research. There was no time to prepare new crystals, the congress was on the doorstep and Alex simply drew a picture of the first structure, from two different angles and manually changed some atoms. He declared it the second salt and put those pictures on his poster. Everything would have gone unnoticed because Alex's mentor was in America at the time, if a Polish scientist, an expert in calcium compounds, had not been at the conference. He was calmly reading the poster until he suddenly spoke passionately in Polish "On nie može". Those words in Polish are almost identical to the Croatian words "it can't be" and it was clear to Alex that he was discovered. Luckily for Alex, the man didn't speak English, and Alex dead cold pretended to not understand and to communicate only in English. The Polish scientist desperately tried to establish communication for about 10 minutes before finally, to Alex's relief, giving up.

So, we say to our daughter, it can't get any worse than this. You will be great.


Kristina

Saturday, June 10th, 2023




On nie može


Ovih dana moja kćer koja studira magisteriji iz područja neuroznanosti, mora pripremiti prezentaciju u obliku postera. Ima malu tremu jer će uz pripremljeni poster morati stajati i prezentirati svoj rad profesorima ispitivačima koji ce joj postavljati pitanja. Rekla sam joj da ju nema čega biti strah jer nitko osim njezinog mentora i nje sama ne zna više u tom specifičnom dijeliću posla kojim se trenutno bavi. O toj Sarinoj tremi sam diskutirala sa njezinim tatom, a on se tu sjetio jedne davne priče sa posterom na jednom evropskom kongresu.

Naime, jedan naš kolega Alex je poslao sažetak svog rada na jedan internacionalni, prilično veliki kongres i u njemu je napisao da je dobio rezultate koje je tek planirao dobiti. Naime on je kristalografskim metodama riješio kristalne structure tri kalcijeve soli sa kiselinama, što je bilo relevantno u nekim bioanorganskim istražvanjima kostiju. Sažeci se na kongrese šalju mjesecima unaprijed. Naime, kad je pisao sažetak Alex je uistinu riješio strukturu jedne soli, a za ostale dvije je samo predvidio da će ispasti isto. Obzirom da je Alex po prirodi relaksiran i sa motom “Pomalo” ostavio je rješavanje tih struktura sve do par dana do kongresa. Ispostavilo se da ostala dva kristala nisu uopće bili kalcijeve soli vec čista kiselina što nije bilo bitno za istraživanje. Nije bilo vremena za pripremanje novih kristala, kongres je bio na pragu i Alex je jednostavno nacrtao sliku prve structure, iz dva različita ugla i ručno promjenio neke atome. To je proglasio drugom soli i te je slike stavio na svoj poster. Sve bi prošlo nezapamćeno, jer je Alexov mentor tada bio u Americi, da se na konferenciji nije našao jedan poljski znanstvenik, stručnjak za kalcijeve spojeve. Mirno je čitao poster dok odjednom nije uzrujano progovorio na poljskom “On nie može”. Te riječi na poljskom su gotovo identične hrvatskim riječima “ne može” i Alexu je bilo jasno da je otkriven. Na Alexovu sreću čovjek nije pričao engleski , a Alex se mrtav hladan pravio da ne razumije i da komunicira samo na engleskom. Poljski znanstvenik je nekih 10 tak minuta uzrujano pokušavao uspostavit komunikaciju i konačno na Alexovo olakšanje odustao.

Tako da kažemo našoj kćeri, gore od ovoga ti nikako ne može biti. Bit ćeš super.


Kristina

Subota, 6. lipnja 2023.

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